U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken added her voice and her court to a growing list of judges who have struck down provisions of the Patriot Act. For the story, click here Aiken is another example of how our tripartite system has been functioning on one branch. Despite such rulings, members of Congress, including Democratic leaders, continue to cave into White House demands on these provisions. The recent baffling extension of the NSA domestic surveillance program is perhaps the greatest example. The problem has been that court of appeals courts tend to be more conservative and the Supreme Court has seen the addition of Associate Justice Sam Alito — who has long shown a blind deference to executive and governmental powers.